The members of The National Mud Runners Association strive to build challenging and entertaining obstacle courses with their medium of choice—mud—motivating participants to get fit while having fun and getting filthy. Each of their events attracts nearly 14,000 participants, who sprint across muddy terrain, climb over walls, and splash through muddy pools of water created by dinosaur footprints. After crossing the finish line, dirt-caked participants can amble into the event's post-race area to pick up their medal, grab a T-shirt, stroll around vendor booths, and dry off while soaking in live music. Committed to giving back to the community, The National Mud Runners Association will donate proceeds of this event to Legacy Boxer Rescue, which helps rescue hundreds of dogs each year.
The creators of Graffiti Run use the term “run” very loosely. Less of a race, and more a celebration of the human spirit, the Graffiti Run encourages participants to dash, dance, prance, skip, cartwheel, or walk the course as they douse each other in vibrant hues that span the full spectrum. Each run also donates a portion of proceeds to a local charity, which range from Special Olympics affiliates and scholarship funds to city cleanup and beautification projects.
Running in heels is usually a hassle, but at the annual Stiletto Stampede, it’s a sport. There, women sprint 100 yards in their favorite stilettos, or even, as one past participant did, in chunky platforms with breast cancer awareness’s pink ribbon drawn on the heel. The event benefits breast cancer research and awareness. The Survivor Stampede, for example, is for breast cancer survivors, while the Boot Scoot is for racers in cowboy boots, rather than boots that have recently become self-aware.
The D4L 5K Zombie Mud Run challenges its participants to think the unthinkable: “Could I survive a zombie apocalypse?” Throughout the 5K mud-slicked course, only the savviest runners will maintain their humanity, dodging hordes of the undead and navigating strength- and agility-testing obstacles. Runners start with three flags that represent their life force. Those who can keep at least one flag safe from the zombies’ corpsey clutches remain human, and those who lose them all make the harrowing transformation into a brain-hungry zombie. But the D4L 5K Zombie Mud Run is more than a grueling race; it’s also an attempt to set the Guinness World Record for the largest zombie gathering on Earth.
After the race, every participant’s name is entered in a drawing for the grand prize—a trip for two to Las Vegas—and event hosts dole out speed prizes to those with at least one flag remaining. Zombies also compete for a set of undead awards and strut very, very slowly in a zombie beauty pageant.
The Mighty Mud Dash lays out 20 challenging obstacles across 5 mud-caked kilometers. The course demands that competitors slither through wire bear crawls, trudge through a 30-yard mud trench, and careen down giant mud slides on their path to the finish line, where a party with free beer and live music awaits. Known for the competitive spirit it inspires, the Mighty Mud Dash attracts many well-chiseled athletes, and rewards the fastest dashers, best dancers, and best-costumed competitors with awards at the event's conclusion.
The Liberty by the Lake Festival is back for another round of family-style Independence Day fun. The party kicks off with a trio of races designed to jump-start the patriotism. A parade follows, complete with patriotic music and floats dedicated to America’s famous landmarks and star-spangled airspace.
At 4 p.m., the main events officially begin. Stunt riders wow the crowd on BMX bikes and skateboards throughout the day. From opening to 8 p.m., attendees can check out the business expo and learn more about local companies. Those with a competitive spirit can test their mettle by impersonating America's first bard, Elvis Presley, making salsa, wakeboarding, and speed-eating watermelon. Party rockers Blaze of Glory: The Bon Jovi Experience have plans to howl at the sun until it drags the day below the horizon, priming the sky for fireworks that cast red and blue sparks over the waters of Lake Lewisville.
At the Paint Run, finishers proudly display proof of their efforts through the multicolored splatter art that covers their bodies from head to toe. As they sprint through a 1K or 5K course, staffers playfully wait to spray them with a colorful pallet of washable, nontoxic, and edible paint, rendering them as splattered as Jackson Pollock's studio's walls. The event benefits various local charities, and is presented by the MoveMEnt, a group dedicated to uniting communities while raising money for local schools, nonprofits, and social-based organizations.